Author Archives: From Poverty to Power

The best and worst aid videos of 2015

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The people have spoken, and we have winners for both the best and worst aid fundraising videos of 2015. Let’s start with the crap ones, cos that’s more interesting. The audience voted (predictably) for the Band Aid retread, but I thought this one from the One World Campaign was magnificently terrible (and almost unwatchable). As for the best video, the audience chose this moving story …

Posted in Aid, Aid & Development, Featured Content, Funding, General Global Health, Podcasts and Videos, Poverty, Technology | Tagged , | Comments closed

Why is the World Bank Group dragging its feet over its disastrous policy on funding healthcare?

Oxfam health policy lead Anna Marriott gets back from maternity leave to find that the World Bank Group is dragging its feet over a disastrous health contract in Lesotho Back in April 2014, World Bank Group President Jim Kim said in a televised interview (19 ½ minutes in) that his organisation would be ‘the’ go-to group to understand how health sector public private partnerships (PPPs) …

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What can we learn from Mexico’s tax on fizzy drinks?

Alice Evans of Cambridge University looks for lessons from a small victory in the global struggle against obesity We in the development industry are often frustrated by lack of government transparency, disregard of the evidence, and lack of political will to address major social problems. Such obstacles are universal. Perhaps we might learn ‘how change happens’ (to use Duncan’s title) by comparing common processes in the Global North …

Posted in Aid & Development, Diabetes, General Global Health, Malnutrition, Noncommunicable Disease, Nutrition & Food Security, Policy & Systems, Politics, Social | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

Great new IMF paper puts women’s rights at the heart of tackling income inequality

The IMF continues to surprise an old lag like me who cut his policy teeth condemning it as the incarnation of extreme market idolatry and anti-poor structural adjustment programmes in the 80s and 90s. Read its new ‘staff discussion note’, Catalyst for Change: Empowering Women and Tackling Income Inequality to see why. The authors point out that ‘Income inequality and gender-related inequality can interact through …

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5 times bigger than aid: important new research on drugs as a (missing) development issue

A couple of years ago I reported on an excellent meeting at Christian Aid on drugs as a development issue. They have continued that work and today published an important new paper by Eric Gutierrez, ‘Drugs and Illicit Practices: assessing their impact on development and governance’. The paper argues that the illicit drug trade is a ‘major blind spot in development thinking’, and uses in-depth …

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Is China’s rise relevant to today’s poorest states?

Am I allowed to say that a meeting held under Chatham House Rules took place at Chatham House? Let’s risk it. I recently attended a fascinating conference on UK-China relations, which discussed the two governments’ burgeoning cooperation on development issues. This seems to be turning into a triangular relationship, in which the UK and China combine brains, money and experience to jointly support other countries’ …

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Arguing with Angus Deaton on aid

Tremendous news that Angus Deaton has won the Nobel prize in economics, particularly because this will further direct attention towards one of the great challenges of the age – rising inequality, on which Deaton is a great thinker, not least in The Great Escape, which deserves an even wider readership. Last year, I had a public exchange with him on the From Poverty to Power blog, …

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Hello SDGs, what’s your theory of change?

As Jed Bartlett would say, what’s next? Now the SDGs are official, there will be big discussions on financing and a geekfest on metrics and indicators. Both are important. But to my mind the big task is to collectively think through what the SDGs are meant to change and how they can best do so – in other words a theory(ies) of change.

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Is the International Humanitarian System hitting a tipping point on ‘going local’?

Marc Cohen, Senior Researcher at Oxfam America, is excited about the new World Disasters Report Over the past two years, a boatload of reports and studies has pointed to the need to shift to greater local leadership of disaster prevention, preparedness, and response. In part this is driven by mounting humanitarian needs and the growing gap between those needs and the aid actually provided. There …

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Some cautionary thoughts on this week’s SDGs summit

The crescendo of discussion and debate over the successor to the Millennium Development Goals reaches its climax this weekend in New York, with the Sustainable Development Summit. The Guardian has a good scene setter. I’ve ploughed a contrarian furrow on the SDGs so far, so why stop now? Here are some things you might want to keep in mind over the next few days, with …

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How are disasters linked to inequality? Review of ‘The Disaster Profiteers’

[The IT guys tell me they’ve finally found a fix on the email notification problem. If you get an email about this post for the first time in months, please either leave a comment, or vote in the poll to the right, to tell us it’s working] Debbie Hillier, Oxfam’s Humanitarian Policy Adviser  reviews The Disaster Profiteers: How natural disasters make the rich richer and …

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How are countries treating their over-60s? New Global Agewatch Index

[nb the elves tell me they think they may have fixed the email notification problem – if you’ve received an email for the first time in months, linking to this post, cd you say so in comments or in the poll, right?] The 3rd annual Global AgeWatch Index (28 pages) is published today, ranking 96 countries on how they treat their older people. The index …

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Is it useful/right to see Development as a Collective Action Problem?

The Developmental Leadership Programme is producing a good series of bluffer’s guides Concept Briefs. The latest is on Collective Action (previous ones on Political Settlements and State Legitimacy). They’re just 3 pages, including further reading, and are ideal for anyone who wants to impress in a meeting by bandying around the latest jargon. According to the paper, written by Caryn Peiffer, ‘ A collective action …

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What difference do remittances and migration make back home?

Reading the Economist cover to cover is an illicit pleasure – it may be irritatingly smug and right wing, especially on anything about economic policy, but its coverage on international issues consistently goes way beyond standard news outlets. This week’s edition had everything from the changing face of Indian marriage to the spread of pedestrian and cycling schemes around the world to (for science geeks) …

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